UP Farmers Submerge Themselves in Yamuna River, Temporarily Call Off 'Jal Satyagraha' After Official Assurance

The main demands of the farmers include granting sand mining leases at the Yamuna River ghats to Nishads and Mallahs, and swiftly resolving pending cases of farmers at the tehsil and district levels. According to their spokesperson, the current restrictions on sand mining have significantly harmed workers and their families in the Yamunapar area.
The farmers began their Jal Satyagraha by entering in the waters of the Yamuna River.
The farmers began their Jal Satyagraha by entering in the waters of the Yamuna River.

Prayagraj- In a remarkable demonstration of dissent, hundreds of farmers, led by the Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU), gathered at the Yamuna River near Madaripur Kanjasa village in Prayagraj to commence an indefinite Jal Satyagraha.

The protest, which started at 11 AM, was organized to address a 26-point list of grievances, including issues with the revenue department, electricity department, police department, Prayagraj Development Authority, and problems faced by farmers affected by the Bara Power Plant.

The BKU, under the leadership of its young state president Anuj Singh, has been consistently submitting memorandums to administrative officials over the past several months, highlighting various farmer issues. These demands, however, were repeatedly ignored, leading to frustration and the decision to initiate the Jal Satyagraha. Singh expressed that the farmers felt deeply neglected by the administrative authorities, prompting this drastic step.

Key Demands

The primary issues raised by the BKU encompass:

  • Lease of Sand Mining Rights: Granting sand mining leases at the Yamuna River ghats to the Nishads and Mallahs. Singh emphasized that the current restrictions on sand mining have severely impacted the livelihoods of workers from the Yamunapar area, pushing many to the brink of starvation and forcing youth to migrate to cities like Delhi and Mumbai for employment.

  • Pending Farmer Cases: Immediate resolution of pending cases of farmers at the tehsil and district levels.

  • Compensation for Demolished Houses: Compensation for homeowners whose houses are being demolished by the Prayagraj Vikas Pradhikaran (Prayagraj Development Authority) for road widening projects related to the Kumbh Mela. Singh stated, "Without giving compensation, Prayagraj Vikas Pradhikaran will not be allowed to proceed with acquiring the land plots."

  • Shanidev Temple Occupation: Eviction of illegal occupants from an old Shanidev temple in Soraon tehsil, which has been occupied by goons for the last one-and-a-half years.

The farmers began their Jal Satyagraha by entering in the waters of the Yamuna River. However, within hours of commencing the protest, officials, including the Additional District Magistrate (ADM), arrived at the scene to mediate. After intense discussions, the ADM provided a written assurance that all demands would be addressed within three days.

Following the assurance, Anuj Singh announced the temporary suspension of the Jal Satyagraha. He stated, "With the ADM's assurance, the Satyagraha has been temporarily called off. However, if the demands are not met within the promised timeframe and the ADM fails to keep his word, the Satyagraha will resume."

The Prayagraj administration's commitment to resolving the issues has provided a brief respite, but the farmers remain vigilant and prepared to restart their agitation if necessary. Singh added, "Until our demands are met, we will continue our movement which will be intensified in the coming times."

This temporary halt marks a critical juncture in the ongoing struggle of the farmers. The administration now faces the challenge of addressing the issues within the stipulated three days to prevent further unrest. The farmers, on their part, have demonstrated their resolve and readiness to continue their fight for justice and fair treatment.

For now, the spotlight remains on Prayagraj, as the farmers await the fulfillment of the promises made by the authorities.

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